The Raman imaging company WITec celebrates its 20th Anniversary. It was founded in 1997 as a 3-person spin-off from the Physics Department of the University of Ulm and has grown into a company of 60 employees including the Ulm headquarters and its branch offices in Spain, China, Japan, Singapore and the USA. As reflected in the company’s maxim "Focus Innovations" WITec’s success is based on introducing new technologies and a commitment to maintaining customer satisfaction with high-quality, flexible and empowering products.
Through the past 20 years, WITec has established itself as a world-renowned manufacturer of confocal Raman imaging systems that embody the notion of German quality. Even WITec’s first production instrument, a Scanning Near-field Optical Microscope (SNOM/NSOM), continues to provide dependable, effective service. Dr. Julio Soares, Senior Research Scientist at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory, University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, says: “We are proud to be part of the history of WITec instruments by housing the very first of the WITec NSOM to be sold and that our laboratory helped on the further development of that instrument at the time. I think the fact the serial number one instrument is still running without hardly needing any technical support is an achievement in itself.”
Dr. Olaf Hollricher, Director of Research & Development at WITec, says: “Remembering the history of Raman imaging in general and that of WITec in particular, the terms innovation and development come to my mind first. The past 20 years have brought incredible technological advances in Raman analysis. And this development has affected the analysis of many materials, ranging from semiconductors to textile fibers to cancer cells. We always pushed on the development of new concepts of Raman imaging and techniques, for which we were recognized with numerous awards.”
From the beginning, WITec’s Raman microscopes have always been extremely fast, with integration times in the range of milliseconds per pixel. Back in the late 90s, integration times used to be one minute per pixel – thus WITec customers could measure far quicker than ever before. All WITec Raman imaging systems use the spectral information of a sample to produce an image that visualizes its chemical composition and structure. WITec was also the first to offer combined microscopes that allow for imaging of a sample with several microscopes.